Winchester M14 .177-caliber dual-ammo air rifle: Part 1

by B.B. Pelletier


Winchester’s new M14 dual-ammo rifle looks very much like the military rifle it copies.

I told you I would review the Winchester M14 dual-ammo rifle as soon as it came in. Well, the package arrived last week and today I’ll begin my report.

This M14 is able to fire both BBs and pellets from its 16-shot magazine. The mag is a long stick with an 8-shot rotating clip on either end. After 8 shots have been fired, the magazine has to be removed and inverted to position the next 8 shots.

The rifle is powered by two 12-gram CO2 cartridges that fit in an assembly that also holds the stick magazine. This entire assembly fits into a fixed box “magazine” that extends down from the bottom of the action and cannot be removed. The bottom of the gas assembly matches the fixed box and lengthens the overall magazine look. A hole in the bottom of the assembly allows the stick mag to be removed when it need to be inverted, and a small button in the fixed box releases just the stick mag.


This photo shows the stick mag protruding from the bottom of the gas assembly and the gas assembly coming out of the bottom of the fixed box that’s attached to the rifle. To remove the charged gas assembly, both a lever and a second button (located below the primary lever) must be pushed. The gas assembly comes out of the gun under pressure, so don’t do this unless it’s necessary!

The fact that the rifle uses two CO2 cartridges concerns me because they’re costly — more so than the pellets. Given the muzzle velocity of an advertised 700 f.p.s., I would expect to get 45-50 shots from a single cartridge, so I’m hoping to see at least 90 shots from this rifle before it’s time to replace the cartridges.

It’s a rifle!
I will cover loading the mag and charging the gun in Part 2. Right now, I want to continue to describe the rifle. First of all — it is, indeed, a rifle. It has a rifled steel barrel that can also tolerate steel BBs, so either ammunition can be safely used. When I do accuracy testing, I’ll test one type of ammo at a time. I don’t want to rush this test because so many readers have indicated an interest.

Lots of plastic
When I first took the rifle from its box, the term “plastic-y” immediately came to mind. Without the gas/magazine assembly installed, the rifle is very lightweight due to a hollow plastic stock and external parts made of mostly plastic. The pull length seems about right, at 13-1/8 inches. And the shape and size of the stock seem the same as the M14 I remember — though I’m remembering something from 43 years ago.

In my opinion, the shape and realism of the airgun trumps the light weight and overly plastic nature. I learned to love the Crosman 1077, once it showed me accuracy that topped many premium European spring rifles. That’s what this Winchester has to do, too.

For those readers who are only familiar with the AR-style of rifle, this M14 has a far more conventional feel when you shoulder it. The AR pistol grip that’s too close to the trigger for almost every shooter is replaced with a more conventional pistol grip and reach to the trigger blade. And your cheek will find a nice resting spot on the broad buttstock instead of on some spindly tube. This is a feel I personally prefer.

The action and trigger
The box says this is a “semiautomatic.” And this time they’re right — it really is! Instead of a double-action revolver mechanism in disguise, this M14 really does operate semi-automatically. I don’t know how they managed it, but they put a pretty nice military trigger-pull into this rifle, too. Those two things plus the sights will put it over the top if it’s accurate.

The safety is exactly like the one on an M14, only almost everyone will be able to work this one with their trigger finger! It’s smooth and positive, yet requires very little pressure to move in either direction.

Sights
The sights are very correct, and if you’ve never experienced a Garand or M14/M1A, this air rifle provides a cheap way of seeing the same thing. And the rear peep sight is adjustable in both directions, exactly the same as military sights, with one exception. The windage knob on my test rifle is very stiff, and sometimes I have to help it by pushing the sight carrier to the right to free it for an adjustment. I think this will wear in. My fear is that it may also wear out, because all I can see and touch is plastic. I sure hope the detents inside the sight are steel.


The rear peep sight is close to an M14 rear sight. Garand owners will recognize it, as well. If this air rifle is accurate, this sight will make the package very desirable!

Anyone who has ever owned a Garand will love the ease with which the elevation on this Winchester adjusts. Once the sight is where you want it, though, it stays put.

There’s currently no possibility of mounting a scope on this rifle. And don’t try to equate it to a genuine M14 or Garand that can be scoped, because those guns have steel receivers to accept scope base screws. This rifle’s receiver is plastic, so there’s nothing to drill into to mount the base.

Don’t let that bother you, however, because this type of sight was one of the reasons the Garand was celebrated as the finest battle rifle of World War II. It’s easy to use and very precise. If this rifle is accurate, the sights will do nothing but compliment it.

Sling
The rifle comes with sling swivels, and I am glad that no sling was provided. I say that because the type of sling that would have been selected is a cheap black nylon strap with toy-like thinness. If you want a sling, get a real one! The sling swivels appear to be well-anchored and look like they will even tolerate a hasty sling hold. Former military will know what that means. The rest of you should look it up on the internet.

The bottom line
Many of you reacted to the realistic look of this gun and asked me to review it. I now have one in my hands and I’ve told you how it feels and looks in person. In spite of the toy-like feel of the gun, the M14 genes carry through strongly, and I can’t wait to shoot it. If it proves as accurate as it looks and feels, this will be a rifle that doesn’t go back to Pyramyd Air!

31 thoughts on “Winchester M14 .177-caliber dual-ammo air rifle: Part 1

  1. It looks like a sweet little rifle.
    I’m still wondering why Crosman hasn’t made one out of the 1077 instead of the AR multi pump they came out with. Don’t get me wrong, it LOOKS amasing but being a multi-pump I find it kinda takes a bit of the main interestest of the AR rifles and they even had the platform in the 1077. They could have made a bunch of military version (AR, AK, M14) I think they would have sold like hot cakes.

    I hope this one turns out to be as good as it is looking right now and if we’re lucky it will push Crosman in bringing it’s own version out like they did with the Marlin.

    J-F


  2. Once again you have been instrumental in providing me with vital information in the art of shooting. I did look up what the “hasty sling hold” refers to. I read a very interesting article by Maj. John Plaster on the uses of a rifle sling. Among the various sling methods, he also describes the difference between a sling and a strap for carrying your rifle on the shoulder or back. I had always thought they were one and the same. I was also surprised to learn that the sling can steady your aim by as much as 40-60%. Depending on the method used. This is something no serious target shooter or hunter can ignore. The more I look into this hobby, the deeper I go.
    Caio– Titus


    • Titus,

      Thank you for looking that up! There is so much to the shooting sports that I cannot convey in my reports, and some individual study like this will make the sport come alive. I’m glad you found things of interest.

      B.B.


    • Now you know why all my sling equipped rifles have complicated 2-piece “military” slings attached (even my old Iver-Johnson .30 M1 Carbine — using a section of #2 pencil for the rear sling retainer). {Except for the HK-91, which has their factory sling designed for multiple carry modes: split as “backpack” shoulder straps, common one-side shoulder carry, diagonal across-the-chest carry [this one relies upon how one part of the strap can slide along the other to allow transition to shooting position by lifting the grip up and letting the barrel fall forward]; and my US Shooting Team edition Daisy 953, which has a strictly shooting sling — only attaches at one end}


      • {Talking to myself… is that a bad sign?}

        For those not familiar with 2-piece “military” slings, the longer piece forms a flattened loop through the front sling swivel. It can be adjusted so the bottom of the loop becomes a shooting sling. The shorter piece goes through the rear swivel, permitting use as a carry sling. Depending upon adjustments, it is possible to “rotate” the longer loop to snug-up the sling (watch a military honor guard) or loosen it for carry/shooting.


    • Titus, the word is that when the Japanese sought to escape during the Battle of the Tenaru River on Guadalcanal, many tried to swim away in the ocean. The Marines adopted sitting positions where the beach sloped down into the water. And their officers exhorted them to keep their elbows under their rifles according to the orthodox sling technique.

      Matt61


      • The Japanese were equipped, trained, and willing to fight the Marines. What they were not prepared for was the crocodiles that inhabited the river.

        Les


  3. Off subject here, I have a little question about the new Beeman P1 pistols, the ones with optic fiber bars as front sights instead of a ramp, as I intend to buy one.
    Is there a way to replace the front sight if the little things, whatever they are called, that keep the bar in it´s place, are damaged?
    The P1 is a pistol that seems to belong in a holster in the hip, and I am afraid that the friction when drawing, some loose thread, or any other mishap, could damage the sight, and by the pictures I have seen, there is not a slot beneath the front sight bar holders, but are part of the gun itself.
    I liked the ramp sight more as it looked more sturdy for hard use. I don´t know if they are still available.


    • Ricardo,

      I would be concerned about breaking the sights, as well. Perhaps you should consider a used gun?

      I wish the airgun companies would lose their fascination with fiberoptic sights!

      B.B.


      • Thanks for the answer B.B.,
        I have considered to buy a used one here in the PA site, but have never bought a used gun before, except in person, and don´t know what it implies. Are they inspected about their performance, or just about their looks and mechanical shape?. Are they supposed to perform in average as well as the new ones? And most important, how do I know I will get the one with the ramp sight?
        So many questions, maybe I am just too picky. Maybe you remember I had some troubles with my LP8 Magnum pistol. By the way, after months of not using it, seems that miraclously started to average very close to your reviews, although it still has very wide spreads.
        Cheers


        • Ricardo,

          If you buy used you will have to check out the gun like you would anything else bought used. Make the seller give you pictures and information about the gun.

          The P1 is very robust, but be wary of anyone who has tuned one, because in general it doesn’t need to be tuned.

          B.B.


          • Thanks for the advice B.B., maybe I´ll buy a used pistol from Pyramidair, any comments about them?
            I sweated awhile, but finally could have a close look of the new front sight, and it looks sturdier than I had believed, provided the bar holders are made of metal, that is. It looks like they took the front ramp, drilled a hole thru it lenghtwise and cut the center to put the fiber optic bar. Hell, it looks like it could be used even if the bar is missing!
            Check out this video at 1:30 and let me know what you think.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBlX3Erpqrs


  4. This is the gun I’ve been waiting for you to review B.B. Ever since Crosman announced it, it’s been on my wish list. I’m a sucker for a good shooting replica, but having seen mixed, if not downright bad reviews on this gun on some of the forums, I’m withholding buying one until I see what it does in your hands.

    I’ve been shooting the Walther Lever Action rifle since I got it a couple weeks ago. “Wow” is all I can say. I’m loving that gun.


  5. B.B.

    Wow, that’s the gun I’d like to have in my collection! Well, to turn it into a .177 copy of M21 anyway. Plastic is today’s bitter reality, but how much metal is there in the action itself?

    My accurizing experiment turned out to be a little bit delayed – pillars arrived 4 days late, all right, now I have to make it – Saturday competition is nigh.
    Also, some good news on my project: receiver is to be completed this week. Well, let us say end of the next week, machine shop guys usually seem to be a bit too optimistic. And then… and then cutting and crowning the barrel, assembling receiver + barrel + muzzle device + shroud, fine-tuning bypass and barrel and voila, the metal is ready for testing.

    duskwight


    • duskwight,

      There is no discernible metal in the action of this airgun. Doubtless there are metal inserts inside, as an all-plastic gun is an impossibility, but nothing you can see from the outside.

      Good luck on the completion of your rifle’s powerplant! It sounds like things are coming together for you.

      B.B.


  6. “Instead of a double-action revolver mechanism in disguise, this M14 really does operate semi-automatically.”

    You may have just hit on the reason for the dual CO2 cylinders…


    • Vince,

      You may be right, but I still hope to see a reasonable number of shots. Otherwise this rifle will be expensive to shoot, and that is not what airguns are all about.

      B.B.


      • Yeah, that’s my big problem with CO2 guns. If you look hard you may be able to find cartridges in bulk for about 50 cents. That’s a penny per shot at 50 shots. Cost of ammo brings it up to 2 cents per shot, and if the gun (or cartridges) slowly leak down over time you’re gonna waste some there… unless you shoot out every cartridge you install.

        Overall, it’s awful close to the 3-4 cents per shot of bulk rimfire ammo. Sure, it’s easier to shoot inside or in your back yard. But the cost advantage pretty much goes away.


  7. B.B.,
    4.4 lbs would make it feel more like a toy replica. Of course, being that it is a replica to a fair amount of detail, using anything but plastic would probably make the price prohibitive I would imagine.
    Victor



  8. I was reading the other day that the M14 was the right rifle at the wrong time. It’s coming into its own now as a Designated Marksman Rifle (DMR) to compensate for the short range of the M4. Nice looking gun although with the pleasure I get from dry-firing my M1, I don’t think I’ll have a need for this one. But everyone should get their M1/14 experience one way or another. That’s a good point too about the expense of CO2. It is amazing how many of those canisters I go through with my 1077.

    Speaking of Slinging Lead and biking, I had the most awful experience the other day when I was riding along and somehow didn’t see this gold colored snake that was working its way across the asphalt–enjoying the heat apparently–and I ran right over it. On the one hand, it did not squash as I had expected. In fact, it felt like extremely hard rubber, and my bike bumped over it with no apparent effect on the snake. This in its way was as gross as squishing it would have been. The only comparable experience was running along in the evening and suddenly emerging into the light of a street lamp to see a gigantic cockroach zig-zagging desperately beneath me. I was on its side trying to avoid the thing, but what do you know. My foot landed directly on it with an audible pop. Ugh. I would definitely rather drop them from a distance with an airgun.

    Matt61


  9. Hey guys,
    I seem to remember someone here shoots a Crossman Nitro Dusk. Does anyone know how it compares to the RWS 34 panther? Especially in terms of accuracy and hold sensitivity.
    Thanks.


  10. The mag looks a lot like the ones from the Beretta PX4 or Gamo PT-85. Is there a way this could be checked?

    I love it when they make several airguns with the same mags like the small 8 shots cylinders Umarex uses and the stick mag that is used in several BB pistols.

    J-F


  11. One adjustment that can make a “Hasty Sling” work a bit better is to give the sling an “Out Board” twist prior to putting your arm through the sling and warping it around your arm. This is done by twisting the sling so the bottom becomes the top of the sling. Turn it away from the rifle or “Out Board”. Then put your arm through. It is more comfortable this way and won’t bind. The Marine Gunny Sgt. that taught me this can’t be wrong!

    Mike


  12. I just got mine from Pyamid and it looks good but way too much plastic,I couldn’t
    find much metal,and the dual co2 makes it a bit more expensive to shoot
    But I am a collector and usualy buy anything new.
    I tested it and I like the blowback,but when the co2 gets around 40 shots it
    doesn’t blow back and you have to manualy do it.Only time will tell to see if it
    becomes a classic


  13. I was wanting one of these but when I heard all plastic I found that want evaporated in record time. I have way too many plastic guns that I rarely if ever shoot. My personal opinion…plastic has no place on a gun. Doubly so when the entire thing is plastic.


  14. Took my M14 down to reece’s pieces and found the rifled barrel to be only long enough to come up the plastic sleeve to the imprint on it (19inches). Trigger pull on mine is 7 pounds. Service rifle and High Power competition requires a minimum trigger pull of 4.5 pounds, I’d settle for half of the difference. Velocity @ 70 degrees with a CPL is 612fps.


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